Barack Obama and John McCain continue to hammer each other today on energy policy, both knowing that high gas prices have the attention of voters.
Democrat Obama holds town halls in Youngstown and Berea, both industrial cities in the key swing state of Ohio.
In Youngstown, Obama said that McCain has "proposed an energy plan thatís nothing but four years more of the same," and that helps oil companies and not consumers, according to excerpts provided by the Obama campaign.
Obama says that "under Senator McCainís plan, the oil companies get billions more, we donít pay any less at the pump, and we stay in the same cycle of dependence on oil that got us into this crisis. The oil companies have placed their bet on Senator McCain, and if he wins, they will continue to cash in while our families and our economy suffer and our future is put in jeopardy.Thatís the choice we face in this election. We can choose four years more of the same failed policies that have gotten us where we are. Four years more of oil companies calling the shots while hard working families are struggling. Thatís what Senator McCain is offering."
Obama then promotes his own plan for alternative energy and green-collar jobs.
Trying to reinforce Obama's point about McCain't ties to Big Oil, the Democratic National Committee posted a web video that shows McCain as a puppet whose strings are being pulled by oil company lobbyists.
"Big Oil in the White House. We've seen this show before," the video concludes.
Republican McCain, meanwhile, plans to visit a nuclear plant outside Detroit to highlight his proposal to build 45 new nuclear plants by 2030. The Associated Press reports that it is the first such visit by a presidential candidate in recent years.
UPDATE: "Solving our national energy crisis requires an 'all of the above' approach," McCain plans to say, according to excerpts released by his campaign. "That will require aggressive development of alternative energies like wind, solar, tidal and bio-fuels. It also requires expanding traditional sources of energy like off shore drilling, clean coal, and nuclear power like the power produced at this plant here in Michigan.
"Senator Obama has said that expanding our nuclear power plants 'doesn't make sense for America.' He also says no to nuclear storage and reprocessing. I couldn't disagree more. I have proposed a plan to build additional nuclear plants. That means new jobs, and that means new energy. If we want to enable the technologies of tomorrow like plug-in electric cars, we need electricity to plug into."
"It is time for America to get serious about energy independence," McCain plans to say. "Our nation is sending $700 billion overseas every year to countries that don't like us very much. When I'm president that's going to stop. We're going to achieve energy independence, and we're going to do it by using every resource at our disposal to get the job done."
McCain and the Republicans call Obama "Dr. No" for opposing many of McCain's proposals, including saying that he is "not a proponent" of nuclear power.
But Obama's campaign says Obama does support "safe and secure" nuclear energy if issues including "security of nuclear fuel and waste, waste storage, and proliferation" are addressed.
Meanwhile, after accusing Obama of flip-flopping by now supporting limited offshore drilling, the McCain campaign criticized him this morning for not changing his position at all.
"Senator Obama's stance on offshore oil drilling has been mischaracterized," spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said in a statement. "He has not changed his position. He has continually campaigned against additional drilling, calling the policy a 'gimmick' saying it was a 'scheme' and ridiculing those who support it. With his steadfast opposition to John McCain's 'all of the above' approach to our energy crisis, Americans should know that Barack Obama remains opposed to additional domestic oil drilling. Speaker Pelosi, MoveOn.org and the Sierra Club can take comfort from the fact that Barack Obama still opposes additional domestic oil drilling. Meanwhile, the American people can be sure that John McCain will do what is necessary to reduce this country's dependence on Middle East oil and bring down prices at the pump."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.